October 2, 1951

“NEW YORK, Monday…A verse in the Bible we very seldom hear was used as a text in the morning sermon. Evidently back in Bible days there were people who thought the “good old days” were better than the present. This must always have been a way of escape for some of us. If life seemed particularly hard, all we had to do was to say how much better it used to be, and how dreadful it was to be born in a generation that had to endure all the modern horrors.

On all sides we often hear: “The young people are worse today than ever before”; “We used to get on well without all these modern inventions, which get out of order to make our lives hideous”; “When there weren’t any automobiles you could not go dashing around the country at high speed and suffering accidents”; “We did not have a crime wave or dope rings in the old days—they are all the product of the modern age.”

Yet, in spite of the low estate into which politics has fallen I have found that almost anything said by anyone of our modern candidates against his opponent can be matched in the “good old days” by things said against Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, for instance, and certainly attacks on a woman were never lower than those leveled against Rachel Jackson.

There are fewer drunken men reeling around the streets today than there were when I was a child. It seems to me that each age has its own drawbacks and they have to be met by the people confronting them. If you look back over several decades you can usually see how some people have done a good job in meeting the difficulties of their particular time and how some have failed.

So, I think it is a good idea to follow the advice our minister gave us yesterday morning. That was that we should not indulge in looking backwards with envy to the past, but to keep our eyes ahead of us with hope for the future.”

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